Ken Pinder (1929-2009)

Ken Pinder grew up in the Qu’appelle Valley of Saskatchewan, traveling to Vancouver in the summer. After completing his primary and secondary education, he earned a Bachelor’s degree (1951) and a Master’s degree (1952) in Chemical Engineering from McGill before completing a PhD at the University of Birmingham. After several years in industry working for Shell Oil, the Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada and Dow Chemicals, he joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at UBC in 1963 and was a stalwart member of the Department until his retirement in 1994. He served as Assistant to the Head from 1979-87, Acting Head in 1984-85 and Head from
1987-92. He also served for a number of years as the founding coordinator of the Master of Engineering Program in Pulp and Paper Engineering. As a leader he was decisive and efficient, keeping the Department on course through a series of lean years and helping to build the Biotechnology (later Michael Smith) Laboratory, to consolidate the Pulp and Paper Laboratory and to introduce a new program in Fire Protection Engineering. A number of current faculty members were hired during his period as Head.

Dr. Pinder was a dedicated teacher, in particular in Process Control and in Chemical Reaction Engineering. In the former, he was especially adept in maintaining an analog controller and using it to illustrate concepts well after most universities had switched to solely digital control. For many years he taught both the undergraduate and graduate process control courses. In Chemical Reaction Engineering, he established a series of unique laboratory experiments to illustrate such concepts as residence time distributions, gas-liquid reactions and kinetic measurements. He served as a UNESCO advisor to chemical engineering schools in Cuba and Venezuela and also as a CUSO advisor to the former.

In research, Ken Pinder was rare in having broad interests at a time of increasing specialization. He published in a number of fields – pulp processing, energy storage, direct contact heat transfer, rheology, drying, solubility and phase diagrams, process control, solar energy, water pollution control and biomedical engineering. He continued his research well beyond retirement, working with a variety of graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and visiting scholars.

Ken Pinder also maintained many interests outside of University activities. He was a potter, a keen gardener and an avid bee-keeper for many years. He read widely and had an extensive knowledge of archaeology. He was active in his Unitarian Church and served as Director and a member of the Publications Committee of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering. His practical skills were put to excellent use at his cottage on Gambier Island where he and his family – wife Hanno, children – Lillian, Louise, Leanne and Mark – often welcomed students and visitors. Ken passed away on November 30, 2009. He was a friend to many, and will be very sorely missed.

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